Thursday, September 29, 2005

The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi...
So tonight Channel4 in the UK has a flash new drama series about Elizabeth I. So far, so British TV, but one of the main stars is this chap:
How off-putting. I kept wondering where Darth maul was...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I just finished adding a new game to my websites front page. Its a game I sell on behalf of someone else (I just refer people to his site). The game is called Lux, and its basically a configurable version of the board game RISK either single or multiplayer.
Its truly superb. heres a screenshot:

You can visit his site by CLICKING HERE
I have 4 days off work coming up (end of project basically) so I can really get stuck into my new game with any luck. Thats and oversee some new windows being put in. ho hum.
Also, I'm trying to decide where to go on holiday, current thinking is a nice schloss in Germany....

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I have a new executive toy. I use the phrase in the loosest sense. Its a Klingon dagger, the one with the little side blades that spring out of the pommel. Its very l33t. I'm using it as a letter opener. It's also damn sharp. I can shred a letter from the taxman with just 3 easy strokes. Doubtless a trained Klingon warrior would provide more of a challenge.
I've been working on the German installer for Democracy, just had a few bits of bad data to clearup, and 3 or 4 stupidly hardcoded strings. I think the long term solution is to set up your text renderer so its incapable of being passed anything but a translation key.
Work on my new game is sporadic, but I have 2 days off coming up (having new windows fitted...) so I will have 2 full days of hammering away code on a laptop which should help. I'm still pretty keen on the concept, and think it has potential, but as with all my games, its nailing the presentation and design that will be difficult.
Democracy is selling quite well in universities, but its tough finding the right contacts to really promote it amongst students.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Foreign language Conversions
I'm begininning to wonder what the point is, to be honest. It seems to be way more trouble than its worth. I imagined that if you gave someone a text file in English they could translate it happily into another language, without adding spurious pieces of formatting all over the place. Its simply not worth the hours of my time to manually fix such errors, so I'm sending it all back so they can do it properly.
Very depressing stuff, but I have better things to do than correct the formatting errors of 3rd parties. In future I'm going to ensure contracts stipulate that my technical involvement is zero in such matters... Retail deals pay a pitiful amount as it is...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I guess its the start of term in US universities, because I'm getting a lot of educational sales of Democracy in the last week or so. I'm going to chase some more universities tonight.
As for the next game, its still at the early code-concept stage. I'm 100% convinced these days that a good game idea is worth its weight in gold, even though people tend to assume ideas are ten a penny.
I've recently become very wound up with games that don't give me much in the way of options, specifically audio options. Age of Empires 3 (demo) and Battlefield 2 are just 2 recent examples.
There appears to be no option in Battlefield 2 to turn off the voice sounds from your squadmates/team mates. If I hear the phrase 'Start fighting or I'll find someone who can', ONE more time, I'm going to go mad. (if nothing else, its silly. I'm sure most soldiers would happily be sent home rather than keep fighting (especially when your army is losing)...).
Anyway, it's reminded me how important it is to let the player tailor the game to his needs. I agonised about an option in Democracy which lets you skip the game dilemmas, but decided that if the player wanted to turn dilemmas off, that was up to them. The only downside is a slightly cluttered options screen, but who cares? Its not like windows only has 2 options in the control panel. Not all users are idiots.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

internet + adobe pdf format == idiots.
Why do stupid companies still host pdf files on their websites? This is not 1990. The adobe acrobat reader is the only software I have encountered that can freeze windows XP and destroy firefox. What kind of muppet recommends that file format for thir advertising media kits?
"heres a great way to scare off customers dwayne! lets host some pdf files."
Jeez some companies are stupid. I'm on the hunt for some new advertising opportunities. Some networks are too big, requiring a $5000+ monthly budget (why???) and some are text-ad only, whereas I prefer banners. Still looking...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Work on my new (undisclosed) game is very slow right now, due to crunch time on other stuff. However, I did reach a bit of a 'eureka' moment where the interface suddenly started looking a bit cool. In the past, I've been a bit too hung up on the elegance of the simulation, and ensuring that I have a balanced game, that the gameplay is different etc, but I think unless you have that initial 'wow' factor that makes for a game that looks instantly appealing in screenshots, you are fighting a difficult battle from the very start.
I have a number of ideas for games that I think would be great, but I have not had much luck in dreaming up an interface that would work well with the game and at the same time have instant appeal. I'm aiming the new game at a slightly less hardcore market than democracy, but I think it will also have enough cross-appeal for people who have bought the game and joined my mailing list to be interested in. I just wish I had some more time to work on it, although I will have soon.